Leesburg Senior Home Care Blog

Are There Benefits to Seniors Adopting a Pet?

By Kaltoon Essa

Many family caregivers are looking to adopt a dog or cat for their aging loved one as their need for activity, companionship and more change due to health issues that leave them largely homebound. Adopting a pet, especially a senior dog or cat, is an excellent way to provide aging adults with physical and mental activity.

So many elderly adults who are aging in place in their homes face numerous challenges. Illness, injury, retirement, cognitive decline, death of a spouse and friends, families moving across the country and more all combine to leave many seniors frustrated, sad or lonely. When their poor health requires seniors to rely on family caregivers and elder care providers, they feel helpless and worthless. This may result in poor mental health as well as bad physical health. However, bringing a dog or cat into their lives can change things for the better.

These are a few of the reasons why aging adults do better when they have a loving dog or cat by their side:

  • Unconditional love from the pet means that seniors will feel special and important, even if it is just in their pet’s eyes. Dogs and cats have a special way of showing how much they care that makes people happy.
  • Sense of purpose comes from the aging adult’s knowledge that the dog or cat depends on them for their needs. As seniors become less independent themselves and rely more on family caregivers and elder care providers, it’s nice for them to have something they are responsible for and can nurture on their own.
  • Dogs and cats provide fun and entertainment, from chasing a toy or ball to participating in funny antics. Even bedridden seniors can play fetch and dangle a cat toy. Dogs and cats
  • If elderly adults need a natural way to reduce stress, studies show that petting, snuggling and cuddling a dog or cat can lower blood pressure and lower stress levels. Pet ownership has also been linked to a lower risk of developing depression.
  • Elderly adults benefit from activity and age-appropriate exercise, and pets can motivate them to get up and move. From tending to food needs and grooming to litter box cleaning and walks, dogs and cats encourage seniors to stay active all day long.
  • Seniors can enjoy a more robust social life with a dog or cat in their home. Walking the dog with their elder care provider is a fine way to interact with others in the neighborhood, and going to the pet store, groomers and vet expands their social circle.

The benefits of adopting a dog or cat are numerous for seniors, and with the help and support of family caregiver and elder care providers, they can open their home and their hearts to an older dog or cat who needs a forever family.

If you are considering elder care in Herndon, VA, for an elderly loved one, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers Home Care in Leesburg. (703) 297-4642.